Life has sweet and sad moments, sometimes too closely juxtaposed. At the October 2013 ACEP Scientific Assembly meeting in Seattle, emergency physicians, residents, medical students, and long-time colleagues were pleased and intrigued to watch Dr. George Podgorny in the premiere of the EMRA Legacy Initiative 24/7/365 documentary, and then to hear him interviewed later that evening and in a panel discussion the following day. Many learned about the key role that Dr. Podgorny played in establishing emergency medicine as a legitimate US medical specialty through the creation of the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM). At the time of the approval of ABEM by the American Board of Medical Specialties in 1979, Dr. Podgorny was clearly in the mix – serving as both President of ACEP and President of ABEM that year. He was integrally involved in the negotiations that created the approved “modified conjoint” ABEM board after the original ABEM proposal had been roundly defeated in an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) House of Delegates vote in 1977. After ABEM was approved, Dr. Podgorny was the Chief Examiner for the first ABEM exam. He also became the head of the newly created Residency Review Committee and served in that capacity for six years. He tirelessly surveyed and approved residencies, helping to ensure the quality of new emergency medicine residency programs.
Unfortunately, after gracing us with his encyclopedic memory, wit, and insights at ACEP, Dr. Podgorny fell ill after his trip to Seattle and died in Winston Salem, N.C., on Nov. 5, 2013.